When the pandemic felled restaurants left and right, we lost a lot. Livelihoods, good food, great drinks—much disappeared from our daily lives. But as a sense of normalcy returned, some our usual haunts did not.
Take Ascension Coffee as an example. Last fall, the local peddler of craft espresso shuttered four locations, including two downtown. One dwelled inside Thanksgiving Tower. Aside from a big-name Seattle chain that rhymes with “shmarbucks,” Ascension Coffee was a mere few minutes’ walk from the D Magazine office. (Selfishly, it was the closest place I could procure a nice cortado and it remained a solid lunch meeting spot, too.)
Sure, cafes and lunch counters abound in Dallas downtown. Still, Ascension represented that third place: reliable, worth-visiting, nearby. So when it closed it left a coffee-lunch-happy-hour-wine shaped void in the area.
This week, Parterre debuted in that very space. A place where lattes and cappuccini once fueled downtown urbanites now does so again. The all-day café comes from the team behind La Reunion, in the Bishop Arts District.
Which is to say, the coffee program is no joke. Beans come from Flower Mound’s Novel Coffee Roasters—though, there’s chatter of starting its own in-house roasting setup. Right now, that means a Kerchanshe roast from Ethiopia is as likely to appear in an espresso cup as a glass coupe. Cocktails such as espresso martinis and Carajillos deliver both boozy-buzz and smoky-fruity flavors from the roast. Put another way: This ain’t your average coffee cocktail. Barman Joe Rodriguez makes sure of it.
Rodriguez designed the drinks menu at La Reunion and brings his attention to drinky details to Parterre. As of now, the drinks menu consists of classics—G&Ts, negronis, daiquiris—but they’re unmistakably well-done. A Manhattan is concocted with Amaro Nonino, grapefruit bitters, and Barrel Armida bourbon imbued with cherrywood smoke right before your eyes. As mentioned, anything with espresso in it enchants. The repertoire will expand as Parterre gets its sea legs under them.
Breakfast tacos and a bacon-avocado-cheese sandwich placates the morning crowds. Lunch brings kale salads for the health-conscious or cubano sandwiches for the taste-conscious. A plan to begin smoking meats in house is in the works (the fats from which will eventually be used to give spirits a savory nudge, like a pork roast-washed bourbon).
Well, well, well. I can scratch my cortado itch yet again. More importantly, a place for the caffeinated denizens of downtown has reemerged. We’re whole again—with a hot coffee in hand. Owner and verifiable coffee nerd Mike Mettendorf, helped launch Ascension Coffee into the upper stratosphere of the local coffee world back in the early 2010s. And here he is again. How’s that for a full circle moment?
This first appeared in Wednesday’s weekly SideDish newsletter. Sign up here so you don’t miss the latest food and drink news and stories.